This week’s an exciting one for new YA books! Quite a few of these books coming out tomorrow are at the very top of my must-read pile, like Transmogrify! and Venom & Vow. What’s on your TBR?
Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee
Dylan Tang wants to win a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs—in memory of his mom, and to bring much-needed publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout in Brooklyn.
Enter Theo Somers: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan’s stomach do backflips. AKA a distraction. Their worlds are sun-and-moon apart, but Theo keeps showing up. He even convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons.
In Theo’s glittering world of pomp, privilege, and crazy rich drama, their romance is supposed to be just pretend . . . but Dylan finds himself falling for Theo. For real. Then Theo’s relatives reveal their true colors—but with the mooncake contest looming, Dylan can’t risk being sidetracked by rich-people problems. Can Dylan save his family’s business and follow his heart—or will he fail to do both?
Hurt You by Marie Myung-Ok Lee
Moving beyond the quasi-fraternal bond of the unforgettable George and Lenny from Of Mice and Men, Hurt You explores the actual sibling bond of Georgia and Leonardo da Vinci Daewoo Kim, who has an unnamed neurological disability that resembles autism. The themes of race, disability, and class spin themselves out in a suburban high school where the Kim family has moved in order to access better services for Leonardo. Suddenly unmoored from the familiar, including the support of her Aunt Clara, Georgia struggles to find her place in an Asian-majority school where whites still dominate culturally, and she finds herself feeling not Korean “enough.” Her one pole star is her commitment to her brother, a loyalty that finds itself at odds with her immigrant parents’ dreams for her, and an ableist, racist society that may bring violence to Leonardo despite her efforts to keep him safe.
Hurt You is a deep exploration of family, society, and the bond between siblings and reflects the reality that people with intellectual disabilities are far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime, not the perpetrator.
Last Canto for the Dead (Outlaw Saints #2) by Daniel José Older
Two gods-turned-teenagers wage simultaneous battles in the Caribbean and Brooklyn in this sequel to Ballad & Dagger.
Healer. Destroyer. Creator. Mateo Matisse and Chela Hidalgo are not just two teenagers in love–they’re powerful gods in human form. Powerful enough to have saved their Brooklyn diaspora community from the wrath of an ancient enemy and to have raised their once-sunken native island of San Madrigal from the sea. But soon they discover that their problems are far from over. On the shores of San Madrigal, two creature armies are battling for survival. And on the streets of Brooklyn, a once tight-knit community is divided, with two sides at each other’s throats. But worst of all, a heartbreaking prophecy rips these two young lovers apart, sending Mateo back to the city, where cops are now patrolling the streets, and keeping Chela tethered to the island, where chaos and death lurk around every corner.
Healer. Destroyer. Creator. As gods, their powers know no limits. But as teenagers–separated, desperate, grieving–what will become of them? And what will become of their people? Join their battle and witness their love in this thrilling conclusion to the epic saga that began with BALLAD & DAGGER.
Venom & Vow by Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliott McLemore
Keep your enemy closer. Cade McKenna is a transgender prince who’s doubling for his brother. Valencia Palafox is a young dama attending the future queen of Eliana. Gael Palma is the infamous boy assassin Cade has vowed to protect. Patrick McKenna is the reluctant heir to a kingdom, and the prince Gael has vowed to destroy.
Cade doesn’t know that Gael and Valencia are the same person. Valencia doesn’t know that every time she thinks she’s fighting Patrick, she’s fighting Cade. And when Cade and Valencia blame each other for a devastating enchantment that takes both their families, neither of them realizes that they have far more dangerous enemies.
Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra
Graduation is only a few months away, and so far Rubi Ramos’s recipe for success is on track.
*Step 1: Get into the prestigious Alma University.
*Step 2: Become incredibly successful lawyer. But when Alma waitlists Rubi’s application, her plan is in jeopardy. Her parents–especially her mom, AKA the boss–have wanted this for her for years. In order to get off the waitlist without her parents knowing, she needs math tutoring from surfer-hottie math genius Ryan, lead the debate team to a championship–and remember the final step of the recipe.
*Step 3: Never break the ban on baking. Rubi has always been obsessed with baking, daydreaming up new concoctions and taking shifts at her parents’ celebrated bakery. But her mother dismisses baking as a distraction–her parents didn’t leave Cuba so she could bake just like them.
But some recipes are begging to be tampered with… When the First Annual Bake Off comes to town, Rubi’s passion for baking goes from subtle simmer to full boil. She’s not sure if she has what it takes to become OC’s best amateur baker, and there’s only one way to find out–even though it means rejecting the ban on baking, and by extension, her parents. But life is what you bake it, and now Rubi must differentiate between the responsibility of unfulfilled dreams she holds, and finding the path she’s meant for.
As Long As We’re Together by Brianna Peppins
A heartstring-tugging, uplifting, modern spin on Party of Five — a love letter to family, hope, and finding strength in unexpected places.
Even though she has six siblings, sixteen-year-old Novah still knows what it’s like to feel lonely. Her friends never remember to invite her anywhere because they assume Novah will be too busy overseeing dinner, baths, and homework — tasks that fall to her when her parents are at work. She wouldn’t mind it so much if her “perfect” older sister, Ariana, wasn’t always excused from helping out. She’s the star of the volleyball team, and their parents don’t want anything to jeopardize the scholarships she’ll need to become the first member of their family to attend college.
Needless to say, Novah feels like she’s been given a raw deal, especially when she’s forced to cancel a maybe-date with her crush, Hailee. Then one terrible night, their parents don’t make it back home. A car accident takes their lives and leaves seven heartbroken kids on their own. The Wilkinson siblings have no grandparents, no aunts or uncles. Since Ariana has just turned eighteen, she manages to convince the judge to give her temporary custody. If she can keep her family running smoothly, they’ll get to stay in their home. If not, they’ll be placed into foster care.
Novah will do whatever it takes to keep her family together but finds herself in a constant power struggle when Ariana refuses to take her advice, even once it becomes clear that they are all in way over their heads. Will Novah find her voice and summon the strength to do the impossible? Or will she be forced to say the hardest goodbyes of all?
Transmogrify!: 14 Fantastical Tales of Trans Magic edited by g. haron davis
Transness is as varied and colorful as magic can be. In Transmogrify!, you’ll embark on fourteen different adventures alongside unforgettable characters who embody many different genders and expressions and experiences—because magic is for everyone, and that is cause for celebration.
Featuring stories from:
AR Capetta and Cory McCarthy
g. haron davis
Jonathan Lenore Kastin